Fort right
Parbina Rashid

One of the persons behind Punjab’s first heritage hotel, Aman Nath talks of restoration, ruins and more

Aman Nath
Aman Nath

The co-chairman of Neemrana Hotels Aman Nath and his partner Francis Wacziarg are the men who gave the Baradari Palace the facelift it needed to become a heritage hotel. Aman’s affair with old forts started when Francise and he, during a tour to the Shekhawati region in Rajasthan, stumbled upon a ruined fort. They took it upon themselves to give it a new look and it took them almost 15 years to achieve the task. It was only the beginning.

Excerpts from an interview:

What are most challenging projects you have undertaken in 30 years of your career?

Whatever seems forbidding and challenging in our field to the others has always seemed easily doable to Francis Wacziarg and me! If one goes by the length of the project and its finances – it is certainly the 15th century flagship Neemrana Fort-Palace. We began restoration in 1986 and then went from rebuilding to also extending its gardens, terraces and public areas as well as adding two pools and the spa. It should end by the winter of 2009.

What is required to be a good restorer of heritage building: the knowledge of history or a sense of aesthetics?

Patience is important, as also an observant eye. So that the patina ambience of the old buildings is respected. We don’t hurry and we don’t like to standardize, but our love for aesthetics is important when interventions have to be made. Eventually, since the whole exercise is to honour history, a knowledge of history is essential. Also, working from a distance is only possible if you can develop and trust an architect with similar sensibilities.

What was the biggest challenge while working on the Baradari palace?

Our consulting architect Sandeep Subhash feels that since The Palace only had one toilet on the second floor, and we had to create four more, laying the drainage pipes without damaging the building was one big challenge. Termite infestation in the mud masonry wall meant that many of the roofs were ready to fall down. Exhaustive and expensive anti-termite treatment as also re-laying the wooden batons in the ceiling that were up to 28’ high is not easy!

Was finding floor tiles which were exactly like the original ones difficult?

In the ground-floor verandah, the original tiles were from London. Though the technology is there even today, market economics does not allow today’s manufacturer to make the same tiles in such small quantities. So, we chose the closest alternative and matched colours from larger sizes that are in vogue today. These had to be cut on site to match the old pattern. This is what makes the restoration process laborious and expensive. But the rewards of satisfaction more than compensate for the trouble!

Would you rate the Baradari palace as an eco-friendly building?

You can’t have an eco-friendly heritage building because it was not designed as a readymade product for today. But this is a process that can be followed regularly through the life cycle of the building. We have installed solar geysers for the entire building. Then, there are gas geysers for the kitchen and washing areas. The walls are already insulated because they are thick and the top roof now has white ceramic tiles to reduce the heat load. The building itself sits in a garden that allows rainwater to soak in the grounds. The trees cool it too. Most of the usable wood, bricks and flooring stones were re-used in the construction process. Most of the labourers and vendors were local, except for specialised ones like wood scrapers and polishers from Pondicherry, the old-style PoP ceiling makers from UP, etc. Hot water pipes have been insulated to reduce energy consumption. We have plans to install insulated glasses and solar lights in the garden, at a later date.

What are the future projects? Does it entail restoring any heritage building in Punjab?

We have just begun working on the Tijara Fort, which is a gigantic, unfinished fort in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. We would love to work on more projects in Punjab if the Government formalises a consistent policy for heritage tourism. We found that the carpenters in the state were better than the masons and plumbers.

Which of the building that you have restored so far is the closest to your heart and why?

Actually, one must always be in love with the next project, or one would not do it. Entrepreneurs seldom gloat on past laurels. Each project brings something new to the palette and one continues to learn as much as one is open to.

Are you writing any new book?

I have been working on a Shiva book for over a decade and a half, but it’s a project without a deadline! It is a non-religious study of a very different God, who, even though he stands centrestage in the trinity, is also an accepted marginal who sets his own norms.

Any place in Chandigarh which has caught your attention?

Chandigarh is pretty much all new. We at Neemrana look for ruins which need help. But today, Corbusier’s architecture already needs help. It may seem too soon but this has happened perhaps because it wasn’t very appropriate for the climate. But that is another discussion about appropriate Indian architecture versus imported design, or tradition versus modernism. That is for architects to fathom. At Neemrana, Francis Wacziarg and I are more involved with saving our past for our future generations.

Hail heritage

An inside view of The Baradari Palace
An inside view of The Baradari Palace

Connoisseurs cannot stop raving about Patiala peg, and singers do not get tired of singing about parandi-wearing sohni kudis, palaces reflecting the aristocracy of this erstwhile princely state once represented and folklore is still full of stories of the eccentricity of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and his 365 wives. Well, that’s the charm Patiala, a city which has walked towards modernity with its traditional charm intact. So, when a group like Neemrana Hotels thought of opening up Punjab’s first heritage hotel, Patiala became its obvious choice and the fact that 1876-built Baradari Kothi with the picturesque view of Baradari Garden was up for the grabs, it made things easier. Thus was born The Baradari Palace, where one can be treated like a king or a queen, re-live the past without getting away from the present.

As Punjab’s only heritage hotel, one expects to see hustle-bustle around the place, one is a little disappointed. After passing through a quiet entry point that leads to a relatively deserted reception area, giving one the glimpse of what to expect. If an old building, antique furniture and century-old artifacts make for a heritage hotel, then The Baradari Palace surely makes for one.

Little has been changed. The emphasis is on retaining the original charm of the Rajendra Kothi or the Baradari Kothi which once served as the residence for Maharaja Rajinder Singh, barring the closing down of a few redundant staircases here and there. The tall glass panel teak wood doors and bright yellow and blue floor titles are original. The lobby, which is again an open area with 12 arches similar to the adjacent Baradari Garden from where it derived its name, the charpois, which is the only element of the décor here, showcases some exquisite Phulkari works, another pride and joy of Patiala.

The 19th century beds and chairs in the palace
The 19th century beds and chairs in the palace

A visit opens one’s eyes to the royal way of living. And the affect comes from the fact that each room bears the name of a king or a queen, most are from Punjab with a few imports from Rajasthani royal khandans, decorated with 19th century-old four-poster beds and chairs and almirahs. The most attractive part of the hotel is its dining area, which once upon a time served as the royal darbar. The ornate ceiling embellished with exquisite chandeliers merges into a small balcony from where the queens and princess used to observe the proceedings of the court. Today, one can stand here and soak in the view below – the view of pretty bone chinas and cutleries laid out on sleek tables.

After a complete round of the palace, what one carries back home is the painting of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh with his eight Patranis, the most important ones in the brood of his 365 wives. Somehow the image those simple yet elegant ladies did not match up to one’s preconceived notion of Bhupinder Singh as a Casanova king or his queens as frivolous pay mates. You may have to shell out a little more than you would normally in a place like Patiala, but then history does come with a price! — Parbina Rashid

Rumour-mongers, run!
Ruchika Kher

Leading stars have threatened action for rumours about their relationships

There are stories and rumours galore about film stars, but celebrities are no longer willing to tolerate gossip that will affect their relationships. Many like Aishwarya Rai, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar have threatened legal action to stop gossip-mongers from spreading false news about their personal lives.

Recently an article titled, “Career more important than family”, published by a website infuriated Aishwarya so much that she issued a statement saying she would take legal action against those who are spreading rumours about her.

According to Archana Sadanand of Imagesmiths, who handles the publicity for Aishwarya, a celebrity’s life is in the public domain but circulating untrue statements about them affects their personal lives.

“A rumour is a rumour until it takes the shape of newsprint or media space... when we authenticate any such information by broadcasting, we in a way are adding to our readership or viewership,” said Archana.

“But we seem to forget that a life, a person is attached to such rumours and in most cases these rumours have a snowball effect,” said Archana, whose client list also includes big names like Akshay Kumar and Imran Khan. In the past actors like Saif Ali Khan and Akshay too have threatened legal action against gossip-mongers.

Saif was at the receiving end when The New York Post reported that he had thrown attitude in a local bar and was thrown out. He then threatened to take the newspaper to court.

Akshay too decided to act against those spreading rumours of a discord in his married life with Twinkle Khanna.

Akshay also threatened to sue a British tabloid for giving false “details” of his and ex-girlfriend Shilpa Shetty’s personal lives. It was published soon after Shilpa won British reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. Said Rajnigandha Shekhawat, another publicist: “Rumours can take a completely nasty turn sometimes with absolutely no bearing on the truth... I think it’s fair if the actors threaten to sue.”

“However, rumour-mongering is a big part of a celebrity’s life and most of them are now aware that there is no escaping it,” said Rajnigandha, whose clients include Shahid Kapoor, Sonal Chauhan, Vir Das and Purab Kohli. But rumours about stars have always done the rounds. So are celebrities becoming more impatient now? — IANS

Tum yaad aaye

Music lovers remember Kishore Kumar on 80th birthday

His fans and music lovers went back in time as radio stations and TV channels played old melodies of Kishore Kumar, the versatile Indian singer-actor-director-composer who would have been 80 on Tuesday.

Often called a genius, he held sway over Bollywood playback music for two decades and is remembered to this day for his ability “to create drama through singing”. No one has been able to take his place till date, say many in the industry.

Remembering him on his 80th birth anniversary, ace composer Anu Malek said: “His birthday is a very special day and emotional day for me. I believe that he was made of music. I had this great fortune to work with dada when I was growing as a composer. I did many songs with him and that was a great experience.”

Not in the picture

Subhash Ghai denies reports that he is making a biopic on legendary singer Kishore Kumar with director Nagesh Kukunoor.

“Nagesh and Mukta Arts are no more in contract with each other. So I do not have any knowledge of such a project. He has not met me since the launch of Bombay To Bangkok,”

Malek said he listened to some of his everlasting songs in the morning and plans to watch any of his best films on DVD.

Born in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, he was one of four siblings who included famous actors Ashok Kumar and Anup Kumar.

Despite not having any formal training, Kishore Kumar dominated the Indian film music scene from the 1950s to the 1970s, making people laugh and cry with his performances.

From fun numbers like Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi, Mere samne wali khidki, Dekha na hai re to romantic songs such as Pal pal dil ke paas rehti ho, Ye naina, ye kajal and Roop tera mastana—he sang all kinds of songs.

He also achieved success as a lyricist, composer, producer, director, screenwriter and scriptwriter. Kishore famously acted in Half Ticket, Padosan, Mr X in Bombay, Jhumroo. He also wielded the megaphone for Door Gagan Ki Chaon Mein, Door Ka Rahi.

“Kishore Kumar had this ability to create drama through his singing. He was one of those very few singers who had a certain amount of acting involved in their singing. With that he could easily create different characters and emotions through his voice, which was great. His singing was so effortless. People called him an Indian star but for me he was a world star,” said lyricist Prasoon Joshi.

“He was plain genious. I wish I had got the fortune of writing a few songs for him. He was so versatile,” he added.

According to singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan, Kishore Kumar was an ardent K.L. Sehgal fan and had a god gifted voice. “I think the greatest musical talent that the indian film industry had produced ever is Kishore Kumar. His voice itself was a god given asset, which did not require to have technical expertise, classical knowledge, etc. Only once in a million years can an artist like him be born,” he said.

Even young and budding singers look up to Kishore Kumar and consider him their inspiration.

“He was an ultimate performer, impeccable singer behind the mike, terrific professional and humour par excellence. A perfect artist with a blessed tone and unmatchable versatility. Nobody can be him. I am so inspired by him,” said singer Akriti Kakkar. — IANS

Mind your mime

Sunny Deol sends legal notice to FM channel over mimicry show

Terribly hurt” by the programme Sonsunny mimicking the Deol family, Bollywood actor Sunny Deol has sent a legal notice to Big FM radio channel asking them to withdraw the show or face defamation suit for a compensation of Rs 200 crore damages.

“I and my family are terribly hurt, we have tolerated the programme for long but there is a limit to how much one can take,” Sunny told a press conference here today. The legal notice, served on the respondent last Saturday, has asked them to withdraw the show forthwith or else the Deol family would consider filing civil as well as criminal defamation cases.

“We will wait for a week and let us see how they react...

if need arises, we won’t hesitate to file a criminal case along with civil suit for damages,” said Ashok Sarogi, Sunny’s lawyer.

Alleging the show was not in good humour, the actor said “things have gone out of hand. Deol family is being defamed.

My blood boils. It hurts. Please understand our anguish.” “You know our family and my father particularly. We have always been upright and never harmed anyone in the society.

You are also aware about our family’s contribution to the society. After all, there is a limit to making fun of people,” the actor said. — PTI

Sawant makes heads turn in Pakistan too
Rakhi has her day

Rakhi Sawant Bollywood item girl-turned-reality TV star Rakhi Sawant’s swayamvar is also making news in Pakistan with reams being written in the English and Urdu media about her impending marriage.

Sawant chose Indo-Canadian businessman Elesh Parujanwala as her bridegroom on NDTV Imagine’s reality show Rakhi Ka Swayamvar late on Sunday evening.

Rakhi Sawant ne jeevan saathi chun liya went the headline in an Urdu newspaper.

The news was also put up on several news portals, including popular and e-zine pakteahouse soon after the grand finale of the much followed reality show.

Titled “Bollywood, Reality TV and Indian secularism,” a post on e-zine pakteahouse talked of Sawant who became “a sensation in Bollywood through her hard work and determination despite an obvious lack of education and family background”

While a post on said, “The 30-year-old Gujarati NRI came all the way from Toronto to marry television’s drama queen...Rakhi has been bowled over by Elesh’s charm. He is the quietest of the lot and most sensitive when it comes to showing his emotions.” Sawant had zeroed in on Delhi’s Manas Katyal and Chittiz Jain, but finally chose Parujanwala.

“If Rakhi ties the knot with him, he is willing to leave Canada for good and settle in Mumbai forever. Rakhi has time and again said that at no cost she is willing to quit her showbiz career,” another report read. — PTI

Double shift
Neha Walia

Redefining couple chemistry, these tricity spouses believe: A couple that works together stays together

Shared joy: Dr S.P Singh with his wife Gagan

If you work in the same office, chances are that you’ll end up treating each other as colleague and not spouse. Your bedroom will turn into conference room; your only discussions will be on what went wrong with that project or why things worked for one and not the other. Having your spouse as colleague may be difficult, but there are some who are glad to find each other playing two different roles successfully— in office and at home. For them working together is fun, and comes with incentives and not cut-offs.

Dr S.P Singh and Gagan, relish their moments together as a couple, in home and at office too. He works as a doctor and she as a lecturer in the same institute, “I think its fun to be working at the same place. It comes with benefits like going together, sharing the same professional vibes and teatime gossip sessions. She tells her stories and I have mine. Oh! and one more thing, it means sharing breakfast, lunch and dinner together,” he sums up. Well, did anybody hear any issues? “Though in the same office, we have totally different profiles. Since, we don’t cross each other’s domain there are no power issues. It’s all about good camaraderie and understanding each other,” he says.

Agrees Atul Gupta, CEO, Red Alkemi-34 with his wife Anuja Lath, COO of the same company. “When you have defined professional radii, there are no conflicts. In fact, I believe by working together, one can lean on the other to solve problems and channelise each other’s professional energy to the best.” Well, to make their work-related processes more defined, they have bifurcated their profiles. Atul takes care of the infrastructure, finance and research while Anuja is responsible for operations, sales and production. They believe that knowing each other personally, the accountability and control at work comes easily. “We’ d say that we complete each other at home and at work as well,” says Atul. Well said, but are their brain storming sessions restricted to office only. “At home, we don’t discuss work. That’s an unspoken rule,” he declares.

Renee writes
at or Life Style, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chd

Patience is the key word

I am 24 years old and share room in a hostel accommodation with another girl. We both work in a software company together and belong to a small town in Punjab. We’ve always shared most of our things. Now I have started dating a young guy and my girlfriend has started showing signs of extreme jealously. She suddenly seems to get angry over small things and acts very jealous and possessive. Every time I have to go out with my boyfriend, it’s a difficult situation to deal with. I like her, but I don’t want to loose my boyfriend either. How do I deal with this situation.

Ravneet Nijjarm, Chandigarh

Well, my dear girl I can quite understand your friends predicament. She is just scared of losing you. Over the past few years that you have been together she has perhaps developed a level of dependency on you, which is very hard to let go of. You do not have to feel guilty about your actions, if you want to go out with your boyfriend please go ahead. After all you have every right to have a life of your own and your friend has no right to feel jealous. Deal with some patience and explain to her how you care for her feelings and would not like to hurt her. Make her feel that her place in your life is very secure and no other person can be a threat to your relationship with her.

Family matters

I am 32, married for the last 5 years. My husband and I are both working and we really have had no time for kids. Now I feel, time is beginning to run out on me and I must start thinking of having a family. On the other hand my husband does not seem to show any interest in the idea. He feels we have a good life going, and it would be very silly to disrupt this great lifestyle by having a kid. I am at a loss for how to deal with this situation. I am very keen to start a family please tell me how to make my husband agree to the situation.

Ravinder Majahan, Panchkula

Dear girl, I am glad you are understanding that the body clock is ticking away and it is always very sensible to accept the changes in our bodies as time goes by and life moves on in its evolutionary pattern. Having a family with kids is indeed a joy in itself and no matter how organised your life might seem on its own it is always a matter of great bonding between the couple to have children. I suggest you have a serious chat with your husband over this. Tell him to view the situation in a more mature perspective. Explain him how wonderful life would be with a kid around and also ask him to respect your sentiments. I am sure he will agree to your ideas.

Take control

I am 35 year old and I have started my own small private practice as a dentist with another guy who was studying with me. Our clinic is doing well, and I am quite happy with the situation. Now that our practice is growing my friend decided we should hire a nice girl to deal with our clients. I was very happy with the idea thinking business will do better, but he hired his friend who is an extremely unattractive woman. I feel it is more detrimental to our business as she seems, shoddy and unkempt, seems to have no social graces and is not very polite either. I don’t want her, but I can’t hurt his feelings. How do I deal with this situation.

Sunil Malhotra, Patiala

Please learn to stand up for yourself. Remember it is your life and you should not accept decisions that are making you feel miserable. If any employee is not conducive to the interest of your work, please do not allow them to be there. Gently, but firmly put the message across to your fellow colleague that may be a more pleasant person at the reception would be a better deal. Be a little tactful, and in future please hire people with a joint decision.

The hunt is on!

So, you are single, experimenting or married (because there is a category for them in the dating rulebook), available and ready to maximise the benefits of your status. With sharp prowess and heightened senses to spot or smell another single or prospect one-night stand, hunting becomes the favourite game. The possible habitat to find easy and interesting prey is a club, bar or lounge. And once you set eyes on your target hunt, that naughty little sound from inside yelling out aloud, “Kill! Kill! Kill!” the last thing you want to do is waste time flirting with a dumb twit or worthless loser. So, you need to know who’s out for hunting and who’s the one being hunted.

Mr Narcissist: He will look in the mirror every time you try talking to him. His hands will caress his hair more than you while you dance. And you’ll be lost keeping the track of what he thinks his best feature is (you wish you could tell him while your ‘cultured’ side refrains you to). In another 15 minutes, you’ll be informed enough to write his biography.

The Butterfly Babe: She is easy to find. Look out for camera flashes, and she will be there. Get ready to be called by embarrassing names (that’s cute for her) every five minutes. Animated rather than excited, at the end of the night you’ll wish if you could understand her accent, remember her name and see her real face (of course the make up piles on didn’t give you that opportunity)

The creep- cheap: He would prefer to call you ‘baby’, try touching or nudging you when possible, will give you spine-chilling looks (yeah, he thinks that will turn you on) and you are right, has just one thing in mind. Keep distance and make sure you find his feet with your stilettos.

The BEP: Oh he is the opposite of an MCP (Male Chauvinistic Pig). The Bill Evading Pig. When its time to pay, his best friend or Mom will call, if not that then nature calls. He tells you how he respects women who are financially independent, after he is done with half a dozen booze shot and gorged on that chef’s special.

The Activist: Sure, she’ll look a little out of place here, but the moment you would like to know more about her, you’ll end up knowing how green house gases are killing aquatic life. And just when you are enjoying your steak, you’ll be reminded of kids dying of hunger in Sudan.

But don’t worry, you’ll find the nice guy and cool girl types who will laugh on the perfect lines, will hold your hand, accompany you till the night ends. — TNS

Couple in the cubicle
Mehak Uppal

Spouses at home and colleagues at work. Here’s how some tricity couples balance the professional and personal spheres…

You had an early-morning fight with him and yearn to get away by sneaking into office. You have a funny office anecdote to share and can’t wait to meet her at home…but what if it’s the other way around? A half-cracked joke from the breakfast follows you to the office, a smile to one special colleague also brings that twinkle to the eye, half-finished files proceed back home, because you didn’t put that cap back on the tube of toothpaste means that your co-worker treats you as an irresponsible person.

Yeah! What if the lines between the personal and professional get blurred, what if your spouse is also your colleague in office? What a lethal mix, is what we think! There are many in the city, who manage to pull it off. But how do they manage the roller-coaster ride, is what we so want to know.

“We faced this problem initially but now we have learnt to deal with it,” says Saurabh, a software professional working in IT Park. His wife for the past 10 months, Khushboo, is also software professional working in the same company. “Now when we cross each other, we just smile and pass rather than stand and chat for two minutes, like we used to do earlier. We have learnt to be thorough professionals, ” he says.

“We have had our share of initial hiccups. We would keep bickering about non-issues all the time,” says Khushboo, “But as time passed, we started to share a good understanding and it was a different story altogether. Now I think, it is easier to clear out official issues with your hubby. In case there is a work related stress, I text Saurabh and we just meet at the cafeteria to talk it out.”

Gaurav Kalra, a 25-year-old working in Infosys, agrees. “Also, working in the same office does not mean that one is working on the same project. Like my wife Poonam works with the other team, and so there is no question of disagreements at the workplace to be taken back home,” he says.

His wife Poonam, in fact, lends an entirely different perspective, “Whenever we work together on any assignment, it works to our advantage because we are so clear about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And naturally, we help each other perform the best.” And she winks to add, “Rather than asking how difficult it is, you should be asking me how convenient it is! You can have lunch everyday with Mr Husband and also have him waiting for you in the car to take you shopping every evening!” Ummm…now, that’s pretty lucrative!

So, any tips for those uninitiated to such a situation? “We have consciously made a decision not to discuss personal problems at work and not to take work home, and since then we have been doing fine”, smiles Khushboo. “Being professional is the mantra. Just don’t do something as silly as sending her flowers in the office, and you will be okay. With a little effort, it will become one of the boons of your life and you will in fact enjoy it!” cheers Saurabh. Well! Happy Married life is all we can chant!

Agli duckling
Jasmine Singh

Khushwant Randhawa’s 13 ducks, two dogs and seven Guinea Fowls complete his family

Old man Donald had 13 ducks on his farm…. A total of thirteen ducks, two dogs, Blackie and Brownie, and seven Guinea Fowls- complete Khushwant Randhawa’s world. This agriculturist and rallyist from Patiala has done everything to keep this world healthy, quacking and bowing.

Duck line

“I have grown up with these white and grey ducks, running after them, bullying them, seeing them adjust with the dogs,” says Khushwant. “ I have never faced any problem. Firstly, they are an absolutely no threat to either my family or the rest of the pets. Secondly, they make great security guards. They will start quacking unanimously when they sense some outsider on their territory.”

Talking about maintenance, Khushwant shares that these are zero maintenance pets. “I feed them vegetables and leftover food, which they relish twice a day, morning and evening.” “ Besides, there is no issue of vaccination because it is required when they are good in number. Thirteen is an easy number to maintain. Looking at them gives me a feeling of one big happy family. Lastly, I just can’t explain when I see react when I call out t o them.”

Fowl play

“Again, these fowls are pretty easy to maintain. They keep to themselves without troubling one,” smiles Khushwant, who would have named these Fowls had they been 2 or 3. “They sit on trees in the morning and come down in the evening.”

Dog’s day out

I am left with Blackie, female Labrador and Brownie, Gaddi dog after the death of the rest of the members of the gang,” tells Khushwant, who is second in the INRC (Indian National Rally Championship first round). “It is fun to have them around. I am amazed at their sixth sense,” he adds. “It’s strange, but I have never seen them fight with the ducks or the fowls. Rather, they come across as good pals. They share a good chemistry.”

Word of advice: Animosity develops if you feed pets together. I always feed them at different times, so that there is no competition between them.

Bamboo & beyond

The North-East art and craft exhibition has something for everyone

Now, this would explain further why Wordsworth or Keats devised the term ‘mother nature’. The North East arts and craft exhibition in Sector 34 has on display furniture, home décor items, clothes, accessories and even art, all made from natural products. “All we do is optimally use natural resources, team it up with creativity to make the end products,” says Subir Kundu from Assam who has a stall of cane and bamboo furniture every year here. The designing of the furniture has undergone a major change and is not limited to a uniform pattern that’s been there ever since. “People usually buy cane furniture for the garden. But with the designs that we have come up this year, we hope, the furniture would find place in the living room as well.” The furniture ranges anywhere between Rs 8000 to Rs 20,000.

The natural flowers from Nagaland are another attraction. Dry flowers painted in different colours are the best bet for home décor, with one stick costing a maximum of Rs 20. Also available here are flower vases. Made in cane they are a wonderful artwork of local artists, costing a little high at Rs 600.

For those, who wish to adorn the walls of their house with affordable art, this is the place to be. “We have brought here Pattachitra, a traditional artwork from Orissa, in which just one side of the character is shown. The paintings are made with herbal colours on silk and also on palm leaves,” inform Jeewan Das. One can also pick contemporary works of budding artists from Northeast here. Also available are coconut shells, varnished in wooden colours; depending on your choice they can be used as flowerpots, key holders, and incense stick pots.

Fashion freaks they can go ahead and try some bamboo and cane chappals and for those who prefer to wear natural fabrics, available at the exhibition are handloom cotton and silk fabrics.

On till 11 August. — Ashima Sehajpal

Pet theory
H Chopra

While aggression in dogs is a major problem accounting for more than 90 per cent of all the behavioral problems, the remaining 10 per cent can also be as vexing.

In complete house breaking is one such challenge. Normally, house breaking habits crystallise in a puppy up to 8.5 weeks of age. A puppy, not house broken properly by that age or bought by some one after that age, poses a challenge.

“He relieves himself where ever it suits him,” is the common lament of a harried dog owner in such cases. Such dogs need to be retrained by frequent trips to the earmarked area, praise or treat as the dog squats and total avoidance of punishment. In an era of flat system of housing, it is important to remember that a properly house broken dog may again revert to inadequately house broken dog and may start using your carpet for elimination if there is no sufficient access to proper elimination area.

“He doesn’t do excrete outside on the road when I take him for a walk, but soils the lawn as soon as he is inside the gate,” is another common complaint which is caused by an anxiety response due to roadside noise. The dog will tend to relieve himself as soon as he is in a noise-free atmosphere.

Other common anxieties and phobias in dogs are:

Separation anxiety: It is the fear of being left alone. It may start as whining as soon as the dog sees the owner putting on his shoes or picking up the keys. In some acute cases whining may soon be replaced with frenzied tearing at the door, pulling at the curtains or even damaging the stuffed furniture. In some cases, the dog may cause injury to itself. While desensitisation remains as the standard behavior modification tool in such cases, in specific cases, new strategies may have to be evolved with the help of the veterinarian.

Fears and phobias: They are very close to one another and may be treated as same for all practical purposes. Fear or phobia towards  particular stereo types like men with ungainly appearance or with long hair and also of particular places which quite interestingly include the veterinary clinics also. Firecrackers burst during Diwali also cause extreme phobic reactions, which may cause them to become irritable and aggressive and may also go off feed in extreme cases. 

Obsessive compulsive disorders: While obsessive compulsive disorders are fairly common in men, in dogs also repetitive behavior patterns like compulsive licking or excessive pacing or tail-chasing constitute such disorders.  Lick granuloma, which is an open skin wound caused by excessive licking, is a manifestation of such disorder. There disorders also point towards an under lying anxiety which has not been treated and may require anti anxiety medication.

Hair it is

La opulence—a Wella Professional’s venture launched its second hair styling and beauty saloon in Sector 15.

The La Opulence, unisex salon, a leading name in hair styling, professional beauty care and skin treatments, launched its salon in the city recently. The salon specialises in hair colouring, hair styles, hair treatments like dandruff, scalp purifying and hair spa. La Opulence also announced 50 per cent discount on its regular rates keeping in mind the wide student community living in its vicinity.

 Grace, unit head and beauty expert, La Opulence, said, “It is very important to take care of skin and hair by experts to make them healthy and beautiful. La Opulence provide all kinds of skin treatments i.e, acne, pigmentation, dark circles, wrinkles, open pores, oily and dry skin treatments with deep analysis of the skin types.” 

Senior hair designer, La Opulence, Sam, said “ Customers ask for different hair colours, so there is style called chunks, which can be done in red, pink and blue. In fire colours, we have red, gold and copper touch which are very popular in younger generation. For style change, there is the shacky cut plus all kinds of summer cuts, like multi-layers and shoulder length and feathers with layers, etc.

“ Hair styles depend upon our personality and hair quality.” — TNS

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